I have always been fascinated by the classical first issues, "the Number Ones of the world". And yesterday i was a happy man, i received another of my firsts... of the Cook Islands. This is my twelfth so far.
First let me give you some information about the islands. Named after Captain Cook, the famed British explorer, who sailed through them in 1773. The Cook islands are "hidden" roughly half way between New Zealand and Hawaii. The country is actually 15 separate islands... nine in the southern group and six in the northern group. They are scattered across 2.2 million square kilometres of ocean which is an area of the size of India. And nearly a thousand miles separates the furthest north from the furthest south. There are around 12,271 residents on the islands. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to New Zealand and in 1965, residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand.
The Cook islands under the British protectorate, issued its first postage stamp on 19 April 1892. There are an estimated 22,870 copies of the first issue in existence today. And here are the stamps that i received yesterday.